Summary: The chances of implementing the Chinese peace plan for Ukraine are not very high, as the West will not support it. Western countries do not trust the Russian President Vladimir Putin; Europe does not want to allow forcibly altered borders; and the US doesn’t believed Russia is sufficiently weakened yet.
In February 2022, right before the start of hostilities in Ukraine, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about “borderless friendship” between their countries. In the first year of the Sino-Russian Strategic Partnership of Coordination, the Chinese leader held four meetings with the Kremlin. Both countries have deepened bilateral cooperation, China’s main role was to become a market for Russian goods, primarily oil and timber. Now, there are also purpoted plans that China may begin providing military support to Moscow.
Last Friday, China published a proposed a peace plan for Ukraine. And its highly unlikely that Xi did it purely out of goodness of his heart. One of the possible goals of the Chinese may be a desire to save the New Silk Road project, which was interrupted due to the hostilities in Ukraine. Or maybe China believes that, as a great power, it cannot afford to stay on the sidelines.
The Chinese initiative consists of 12 points, which can be summarized into four main items. China advocates for the need to create conditions and platforms that will allow for negotiations. In this process, Beijing is ready to play a constructive mediator role. Secondly, the Chinese call for the renunciation of threats to use nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. Thirdly, they insist that all parties to the conflict should show “prudence and restraint,” not exacerbate the situation, observe international law, and avoid attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure. And finally, China opposes the expansion of military blocs, primarily referring to NATO.
The West rejects this plan primarily because it does not trust Putin, especially if the agreement will include withdrawal of all Russian troops from the Ukrainian territory. Europe is not satisfied with Beijing’s proposal because the implementation of this plan essentially marks the end of the world order that has existed since 1945. Putin is likely to be able to retain control over some Ukrainian territories, and forcible border shifts have been unacceptable until now. For Washington, the Chinese initiative is unacceptable because it was voiced too early. The Americans are not done making money on global rearmament and inflicting pressure on Russia’s economy trying to bleed it dry.
Therefore, the likelihood of Beijing’s plan being implemented is not very high. Besides, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky insists that any negotiations are only possible after Russian troops have completely left his country’s territory. Both sides of the conflict are preparing for a prolonged confrontation. Time will tell what will become of it, but, in the end, one thing is clear – the world will never be the same.
Saturday, Feb 25, 2023 – 5:45 PM PST